Take your tennis to the next level with these gym workouts

5 Jul 2021 11:06AM by Karen Hazzard (Head of Racquets)

All good tennis players need to work on their strength, agility and endurance so they can bring explosiveness to their serves, speed to match their opponents and versatility in their returns.

Whether you’re a tennis newbie who’s been inspired by the amazing feats of the Wimbledon stars or a seasoned pro looking to improve your game over the summer, these exercises will help you improve your skills so you feel invincible on the court.

Strength training for tennis


Players can use their own body weight to help improve their strength on the tennis court. If you’re new to chin-ups, you can use a resistance band to counter-balance your weight at the beginning of your training. In the weeks and months following, you should slowly work your way up to doing chin-ups without needing any assistance. Once you feel confident, you can introduce using a weighted belt as well.

How to do a Chin-Up:
To perform chin-ups properly, hold a pull-up bar with your hands hip-distance apart and your palms facing inwards. Then, taking as much time as you need, pull your body up with your arms and your lats until your chin is just above the bar, and slowly lengthen your arms back down. You should aim to bring your elbows into your sides

Aim for three sets of 10 pull-ups, and you’ll quickly notice your game strength improving.

Medicine Ball Throws

Good tennis players develop both their upper body and core strength to ensure they can drive more strength behind the racket and keep stable during play.

How to throw:
Hold a medicine ball firmly in each hand, and stand with your side several feet away from a wall. Rotate your shoulders away from the wall, winding up in preparation for the throw. Then, reverse direction, turn your shoulders and release the ball as fast as you can.

Aim for three sets of five throws per arm.

Speed and agility training for tennis

Interval Training using a treadmill

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) on a treadmill will not only help improve your overall cardio fitness levels but will also develop the ability to dart quickly and efficiently around the tennis court.

How to do interval training:
Start by warming up by running for 10 minutes at a moderate pace on a treadmill. Then, sprint at 90% capacity for 4 minutes before recovering with a walk for 4 minutes. Repeat this four times, so you’re running for a total of 16 minutes.

You’ll soon notice your fitness levels increase; it’ll become easier and easier to sprint for shorter periods during a match.


Deadlifts will help increase your speed and agility by increasing the amount of force you can put into the ground, helping you to take off smoother and faster.

How to Deadlift:
With your feet hip-width apart, grasp a barbell with an overhand grip just wider than your knees. Keeping your chest out and back straight, pull the bar off the floor by extending your hips. Keep the bar close to your body throughout the lift.

Aim for four sets of 12 reps.

Kettlebell Swings 

The Kettlebell Swing can help increase your power on the court, and will simultaneously improve your speed and balance.

How to do a Kettlebell Swing:
Stand with your feet just a little wider than your hips and hold a kettlebell with both of your hands in between your legs. Bend your knees slightly and swing the kettlebell back between your legs, then quickly swing the kettlebell forward up to eye level while keeping your core tight. It’s important that you hinge at the hips to create the right amount of force in the swing without overworking your arms.

Aim for four sets of 10 reps.

Endurance training for tennis 

Circuit Training

Circuit Training is an exercise format that involves between 6 and 10 exercises used in succession and can help improve speed, strength and endurance - perfect for tennis players.

You can perform Circuit Training yourself, completing specific exercises that target your total body, upper body, lower body and your core, separated by brief intervals for rest.

Group Exercise classes

Sessions such as Cardio Tennis, Group Cycle and Grid Training will improve your overall endurance and fitness, so those longer tennis matches won’t feel as long….

Don't forget, if you're looking for workouts and coaching from our Activists, head to Online+ workouts on our Virgin Active App.

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